ThrowbackThursday: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

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It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

In my case, I decided to re-read and feature my favorite book of all time. Yes, whenever someone asks me what book really got me, it’s none other than Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember.

A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

I was supposed to re-read this last month, being April was the special month for Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. But my busy daily routines got in the way so I had to postpone it. Good thing I finally got to squeeze some time for Nicholas Sparks, and here I am bawling again.

I don’t know why I never get tired of Landon and Jamie. To me, they are proof that love beyond time is possible. That love is something we can always hold on to until our last breath. Their love story always touch my heart. A Walk to Remember is my ultimate favorite book of all time. It’s always my number 1.

As a Christian myself, I loved Jamie’s character. She wad very inspiring; she didn’t lose hope. She was able to reach out and changed Landon’s character for the better. There was not a single moment that I did not cry. And there’s no one else to blame but Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read this book so many years ago even before it was made into a film, and I make it a point to read it every year.

I always wonder how a guy could ever write something as cheesy as his writings! I always thought women authors were better writers because they are more adept to everyone’s feelings. Nicholas Sparks proved me wrong. He is a work of art, his writings are masterpieces. Although many people tell me his characters always end up dead or getting sick and senile and sometimes, no promise of a happy ending, I still want to read his books over and over again. Because his books serve as my anchor to reality, to truth, to God and to life.

I’ve read almost all of Sparks’ books and would still be reading them even when I get old and grey.

Review: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

I don’t know how much tears I’ve shed with this book. I always get scared reading Mitch Albom’s stories, not because they’re scary, because all of them are not; but because they always cause me heart palpitations, ugly crying and mental pain – in a good way. This one’s particularly special because it featured the author’s mentor and former college professor who had a great impact in Albom’s life.

Morrie’s struggles and decisions of surviving while waiting for his demise was not an easy deal to break. Having to reconvene and reconnect with a former student every Tuesday must have been one of his treasured moments in life. The life lessons and beautiful analogies in the book opened my eyes to the reality of life and embracing it one day at a time.

I swear I had to use at least two handkerchiefs to keep my tears from falling. In the end, I gave up and wallowed and reflected everything Morrie Schwartz had said. I can definitely say that this is the most amazing and heartbreaking book I’ve ever read.

Review: When Sparks Fly by Ines B. Yao

When Sparks Fly
by Ines Bautista-Yao

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

To tell you the truth, I was instantly enthralled with this novel the moment I laid my eyes on the cover. The design is very intricate and exquisite, lovely and mushy at the same time. It calls on me, pulling me in, drawing me further in. I know I shouldn’t be judging a book by its cover, but hey, let’s all be honest. Almost all of us grab the most beautifully decorated/designed cover we see in the library or bookstores. I know I do.

Anyway, moving along.. I have read some of Ines B. Yao’s books and came to love her stories as well as her characters. I’ve met Regina and Ben during their wedding scene in the other book, Only A Kiss and I knew then that I had to know more about them. Lucky me, When Sparks Fly flew right into my hands.

Regina and Lana had been best friends since they were kids. They’re both pretty, but it had always been Lana who got all the boys’ attention. When Regina found someone who might actually liked her back, she was sure that once he saw Lana, he’d fall for her BFF instead. Heck, it’s always Lana who got everybody’s attention and who ended up with the guys, anyway.

Something changed though when Ben came along. The guy who both made the girls swoon over his handsome physique and witty personality. It’s no surprise that most girls would fall hard for Mr. Sportscaster, but this time though, Ben prefered Regina instead of the gorgeous Lana. Could this be the end of their friendship?

Earlier in the book, I was pretty much ready for the crazy catfights between friends and the Status: It’s Complicated kind of relationship, but the appearance of an additional and annoying character made the story even more exciting. I practically stayed all night reading until I made sure that Regina and Ben get their happy ever after. Glad that my black coffee didn’t fail me until the wee hours of the morning.

This may fall under the “BFFs falling for the same guy” trope but this is the kind of story that would make you see that there is no need to choose between the friend and the boy. I love how Ben and Regina complemented each other. I love how photography and cooking and that tie-dyed necktie strengthened their bond. I love how the characters grew and learned from their mistakes. I love how the book was filled with scenes that melted me to the core.

And lastly, I love how Ines Yao managed to write characters that you feel compelled to root for. Don’t be surprised if pretty much everything Ines Yao writes always end up in my Favorite Books list.

 

Throwback Thursday: A Time To Kill by John Grisham

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

This week, I pay tribute to one of my favorite crime-novel authors, John Grisham with A Time To Kill.

 

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A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1) by John Grisham

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle — and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life…and then his own.

Dateline: Clanton, Mississippi. Early 1980s.

One day, ten-year-old girl Tonya was found almost a breath away from death. Two vicious drunk drug addicts had earlier assaulted, raped and tied her and they thought she was already dead. Fortunately, she survived and the men who violated her were caught and arrested.

That’s where lawyer Jake Brigance came into the picture. Carl Lee Hailey asked for his help to bring the evil thugs to justice. But Brigance noted that Carl was a black man and he was barking on two white supremacists, thus there was a possibility that they could be freed. Pissed and mad about the discovery, Carl took matters into his own hands and killed her daughter’s perpetrators.

Brigance formally took Carl’s murder case, the townsfolk not entirely on their side because, in this quaint little town of Clayton, black people weren’t really welcomed. Thus began the grueling, life-threatening journey of Carl, Tonya, their family and the entire black race.

This was the very first John Grisham courtroom drama that I have read almost 20 years ago after watching the movie adaptation. (Okay, I admit, I had a huge girl crush on Sandra Bullock at that time and I found Matthew McConaughey quite dapper when he was still wearing clothes & Americana suit. Spare me the ridicules because he was totally different back then. LOL)

Anyway, earlier this year, I re-arranged my super disorganized book shelf (or should I say, book box) and found this classic treasure sandwiched in between Sidney Sheldon and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. I couldn’t help but read it again. John Grisham has been one of my early favorite authors, next to Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon. A Time To Kill was one of the first books he wrote and he wrote it with intensity, candor and audacity. Grisham clearly knew what he was writing and he took care of people’s race and dynamics in every situation. He made me believe that I was part of the jury and a questionable justice system.

Racism, justice, morality and thought-provoking questions grabbed me from the start. Twenty years ago, I was dazzled by the book and the movie. Twenty years later, Grisham still had the same effect on me. Impressive!

Review: Last Stand (Black Mage 4) by Rachel E. Carter

Last Stand (The Black Mage #4)
by Rachel E. Carter

He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.

She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.

Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.

Once there was a girl traveling with her twin brother, on a journey that would ensure their fate as a mage and a healer.

Once there was a prince, a Non-Heir who was too happy to escape the clutches of his tyrant King and brother.

Once there was an Academy that trained young men and women to their utmost ability, to protect the kingdom of Jerar and be hailed warriors of the keep.

And once upon a time, this boy and girl met at the most awkward time, became foes and allies, became friends and enemies at the same time.

The girl clung to the boy so she could chase away her dark. He was light, and she was fading. She was drowning, and she just couldn’t stop.

And once upon a time, the mage and his wife dreamed of a happy married life, but the King and the Crowned Heir and the rebels never allowed their happy ever after to come about.

This is a story about love and loyalty, of brothers and sisters, of friends and enemies, of trust and betrayal, of magic and reality, of factions and alliances, of blood and power and death.

“I would have given you the world .” Darren’s back was still to me as he spoke. “And instead you took mine and destroyed it.”

“So tell me, love…” The mage king turned around and his garnet eyes flashed as he took me in. They were burning with hate. “Tell me, my wife,” he said, “why I shouldn’t destroy yours?”

This is by far the best fantasy series I have ever read and completed and loved. Rachel E. Carted rightfully deserved her new bestseller status as an author because she gave out so much love and passion and dedication to this book. There is that gravity to her writing that makes the reader stop and put their feet on the characters shoes and dive into a world of chaos, magic and romance. Over time, I’ve grown to love all the characters in the book, including the unexpectedly wise new-crowned queen. The perfect twist to a story full of surprises.

This is an absolutely marvelous book that everyone should read and this is my last stand.

Review: Play (Stage Dive 2) by Kylie Scott

Play (Stage Dive #2)
by Kylie Scott

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

OMG!!!

Hot damn! This was so good, I couldn’t put this book down! Mal and his crazy antics would be the death of me. And I don’t blame him if I’d die laughing with him right now. Seriously.

Kylie Scott continues to rock my world with her awesome Stage Dive stories. I thought David Ferris was already a cool dude in the first book, Lick. Until I got a glimpse of one of his bandmates, Malcolm Ericson. Oh man, this guy stood out and stood loud and proud. A certified hottie, I must add.

In this second book, PLAY, Mal is an enigma. Seriously, this talented drummer is so good with his hands, and mouth. He is the life of the party and when he speaks, everyone listens. And gets mesmerized.

No wonder Anne Rollins can’t stop gazing at him with her crazy eyes. This poor gal has been cheated by her roommate who took off without paying her debts to her. Badly needing help with her housing predicament, she soon agrees to Mal’s offer and the two lovers are inseparable ever since.

Life with Mal Ericson is full of fun and excitement and laughter. I wish I was in Anne’s shoes, spending the night with him and shouting expletives and what not just to piss off the other couple next door with his crazy antics. Oh god, Anne and Mal’s pretend bed moments were really hilarious! They even broke the bed by just screaming! How much more if they give in to their carnal needs. Seriously, this book is everything!

I dunno how to proceed with my review without revealing the rest of the story, so I gotta stop now. So far, Mal Ericson is my book boyfriend of the month, and I intend to enjoy each and everyday with him. Gosh, Kylie Scott, you are making a fool of me, but I like it! Yay!

 

OMG… I didn’t know that the book, PLAY was published exactly 3 years ago. Is this just a coincidence, or what? I really didn’t know about this, but let just say, Happy Birthday PLAY and MAL Ericson! 

Review: Pucked by Rachel Walter

Pucked
By: Rachel Walter

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?

Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.

Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.

When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.

Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?

Who keeps the puck?


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This has been heart-breaking, mind-blowing, tear-inducing, soul-searching, chest-pounding story, where winter meets spring, creating a spectacular autumn that two bruised hearts call home.

Aubrey Jacob is fire, spring, a blooming dandelion in the mud. Yes, mud.. Because Aubrey girl loves mud and muddin’, and that’s something that make her unique.

Riley Silk is ice, winter, a frost that intensifies the ice surrounding his heart. Because Riley has been through a lot in the homefront, to him, love is cruel and cold and chilled.

Together, they are autumn. Together, they are fire and ice controlled. Together, they are unbreakable.

I loved everything about this book – the tears, the fights, the anxiety attacks, the milkshakes, the mud, the ice, and most specially – the one armed, one legged booty shaking dance.

I love Pucked!

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